Writing is one of the fundamental parts of a child’s education. While we try to implement it whenever we can, it can be a challenge to get reluctant writers to not only write, but to enjoy writing as well. The good news is there are tons of “tricks” out there to make writing fun not only for your reluctant writers, but for all your students. Whether you are looking for group activities or individual desk activities, these five techniques will help your students become better writers.
Write and Roll
One way to engage students in writing is to use a game I like to call “Write and Roll.” This game allows students to see how sentences are put together. What you will need is:
- Different color soft cubes you can slide paper into
Your job as the teacher to get this ready is to create sentence parts and print them onto cardstock. Then, put different parts of a sentence in each of the cubes. You will want to have “who” or subject cards, “verb” or action cards as well as “where” and “when” cards to make sure the sentences will always work together in some way. When students roll the dice, they need to put together a sentence and then record it. These sentences should be silly and fun! This game is all about teaching students how to piece sentences together.
Another way to get those writers writing going is to make it a competition with “Perfect Puzzles”! For this game you will need:
- A word document with a variety of words printed out
- Baggies (to put the pieces in)
- Pencil (to record results)
Challenge students to make as many words as possible with words that you put on a bingo like card and cut out. You can have a wide variety of them ranging from easy to hard to help you differentiate in your classroom. When students make a sentence, have them write it down and then jumble their pieces again to make another sentence. Have them keep going for a certain amount of time. Whoever has the most correct sentences gets a prize!
Write It-a Scavenger Hunt
One of the best ways to get students to engage in writing (or anything else) is by playing some kind of a game like the activities above. Another way, is to get students up and moving with a “Write it Scavenger Hunt”. Adding some action to the day will stick in students’ minds often longer than sitting in a desk does. What you can do is have a parts of speech scavenger hunt. Review all the parts of speech you need to make a sentence. Then go for a quiet walk up and down the hallways and have students record the nouns (subjects) they see as well as some verbs (actions) they see. Then come back to the classroom and write down as many sentences as they can using the words they wrote down. By getting students up and moving, they can see how much goes on around them and that may inspire them in the future when they are asked to write independently.
Because getting kids up and moving helps them remember, make your students the focus with “Human Sentence.” This is a fun game to play in groups and you can use the same cards you use in “Write and Roll” (the first strategy mentioned in this article). Put students into groups of four and have each of them take a card. Then, in their groups, have them figure out where all the parts of the sentence should go. Have students stand in that order and read their sentence allowed. If there is a mistake, you can easily move them around or you can give them a chance to fix it. As students get older, you can also use this game to teach them about the different types of sentences. This game not only gets kids up, but it teaches them how to work with each other.
Phone Your Friend
Remember back in the day when we would play the game telephone and the original message was all sorts of messed up? Well, you can play “telephone” with your students too. Have a student start by writing a noun (subject) on a notecard or piece of paper. Then pass that to the next person. The next person has to write what that subject is doing or could be doing. From there, have the next student write where the subject is completing the action and have the fourth write when it happened. This can become more complex as your students learn more about sentences and follow them well past elementary school.
Writing is such an important part of our students’ education. Because of this, we want writing to be a fun activity for them instead of something the dread. So if you have some reluctant writers, try out these games to get their feet wet then watch their imagination and confidence soar.
Need other fun ideas for writing? Check out my writing bundles below. They can all be found on TPT.